What Is Garlic Confit And How Do You Use It?

When it comes to garlic, you can call us addicted: we can't get enough of the stuff, whether it's slathered across garlic bread, blended into a tangy vinaigrette, or softened into a hearty tomato sauce. We use garlic in marinades, we roast the heads whole and smear them onto toast, we even mince raw cloves into fire cider to ward off pesky colds and flus. Basically, we consume enough garlic to send any vampire sprinting far, far away from our kitchen.

Given our garlic addiction, we thought we knew all there was to know about how to cook with this versatile allium. Until we heard about garlic confit, that is. Say what? We've eaten plenty of confited pork — aka carnitas — in our day, as well as the occasional indulgence in duck confit. But we'd been living in blissful ignorance of sweet, oily, delicious garlic confit — until today, that is. Let's get to know this condiment we should all keep stocked in our fridges.

What is garlic confit and what does it taste like?

According to Taste, the culinary term "confit" refers to the method of cooking any food slowly in copious amounts of fat. Typically used to cook meat, confiting results in super-tender, falling-apart results, whether that meat is chicken, duck, or pork. If you've ever eaten a carnitas taco, you've eaten confit, in this case boneless pork butt, which is simmered or baked slowly until all that tasty intramuscular lard melts and bastes the meat to perfection (via Serious Eats). In the days prior to refrigeration, according to Taste, confiting meat was a reliable way to preserve meat, as the cooled fat in a confit envelops the meat and pushes out any oxygen that would lead to its spoilage. 

Although it's typically meat that is confited, you can confit just about anything, and that's where sweet, golden, delicious garlic confit comes in. This handy condiment — which can be spread on toast, whisked into salad dressings, used to marinate meat, and more, according to the Washington Post — is simply garlic cloves poached slowly in olive oil until the cloves are tender and sweet and the oil is imbued with plenty of garlicky flavor.

How to make garlic confit at home

Making garlic confit couldn't be any easier. Per a recipe in the Washington Post, all you do is combine the peeled cloves of about two heads of garlic with one cup of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, bring the oil to a simmer over a low flame, and cook for about 45 minutes, until the garlic is golden in color and soft to the touch. Then, you let the whole mixture cool before transferring it to a clean jar. Garlic confit will keep in the fridge for about one week or in the freezer for about one month, per the Washington Post.

If you like garlic, you'll never run out of ways to use this adaptable condiment. How about using some of the garlicky oil to sear a sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwich? Or blending some of the soft cloves into a white bean hummus? If you're making a creamy dressing or homemade mayo, go ahead and tip some of the golden oil in there for plenty of garlicky flavor. Garlic confit is the kitchen best friend you never knew you needed, until now.